TAOISEACH Enda Kenny said Scotland’s rejection of independence following a promise of major new devolved powers from Westminster has enormous implications for Northern Ireland.
Mr Kenny said while the Scottish vote in favour of remaining within the United Kingdom, by a 55pc to 45pc majority, was decisive it also ensured that things would never be the same for other parts of the UK such as Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Taoiseach, speaking in Cork as he announced 115 new Dairygold jobs, confirmed that the Government will be now seeking a meeting with the British Government and Northern Ireland’s elected officials over how best to ensure promised devolution is fully delivered for the Belfast assembly.
“Obviously there are implications for Northern Ireland and the devolution of authority for which people voted is something people want to see implemented,” Mr Kenny said.
“In other words, the working of the institutions that have been set up - it (the NI assembly) is not working as it should.”
“So, in the context of the extra powers to be given to Scotland and references to Northern Ireland and Wales, these are matters that will be considered. They are of considerable importance.”
Mr Kenny said that the two Governments will work together to ensure maximum delivery on what the people of Northern Ireland voted for.
“Minister (Charlie) Flanagan has been very active since his appointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs here,” he said.
“We do need to get to a point where the elected representatives of the people of Northern Ireland accept and implement the responsibilities given to them under the devolved authority which has already been given to the assembly in Northern Ireland and for which people voted.”
“I think it is important that the institutions be seen to work and be made to work. That is acceptance of responsibility under the Good Friday Agreement as outlined in the past.” “There may well be other issues for the further devolution of authority in Northern Ireland and this is a matter that the Irish Government will obviously consider very carefully.”
“We will discuss it both with Britain and with the elected representatives in Northern Ireland.”
But Mr Kenny joined with other western leaders in urging everyone to respect the Scottish vote – and to pay tribute to the remarkable spirit in which the referendum campaign was contested.
“The spirit of democracy is very much alive in Scotland. The people gave a very clear and decisive decision. What was requested was that the referendum would be fair, legal and decisive and that has been the case,” he said.
“I am quite sure that the words of both the Prime Minister (David Cameron) and the First Minister, Alex Salmond, are very important…that there be unity, that there be a real follow through on what has been committed.”
Mr Salmond, in conceding defeat, has challenged all three major Westminster parties to immediately deliver on their promises of extra powers for the Holyrood parliament.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader acknowledged that the issue of independence has been resolved for at least a generation.
Mr Kenny said there are enormous implications of a more powerful Scottish parliament.
“I understand that that is already on the way. Clearly it has implications for the future. Things will not be the same in the future because the devolution of extra powers to Scotland will bring with it claims from other parts and indeed from other countries,” he said.
“This was an example of a country where the movement of people began to have a referendum and it ended up in a very clear and decisive result,” he said.